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Playa Del Carmen And Tulum Set New Tourist Records Following Cancun’s Success

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Mexico is having a moment. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum are wildly popular and have each broken tourism records recently. Cancun has broken records nearly every month of 2022, and now Playa del Carmen and Tulum have joined the fray. It's no secret that Cancun is the King of tourism. However, it seems travelers are beginning to branch out from America's favorite destination. As Cancun ramps up winter flights this year to prepare for more record-breaking, Playa del Carmen and Tulum should be just as ready.

Tulum beach and maya historical site

Cancun Is King

Cancun is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world and is a particularly popular vacation spot for Americans. With over 70 all-inclusive properties to choose from within city limits, there are endless options for travelers who want to relax in the sun with their feet in Cancun's signature white sand. It's no wonder the area is skyrocketing in popularity. But don't just take our word for it; the numbers speak for themselves.

Cancun hotel Zone

Using passenger arrival data for Cancun International Airport, Travel Off Path found that there were over 1.6 million more international visitors to Cancun between January and August of this year than in 2019, which held the previous record. In 2019, between January and August, there were 11,781,655 international arrivals to Cancun International Airport. For the same months in 2022, there were 13,467,783! That's an increase of 1,686,128 arrivals for a 14.3% total increase. For a destination that already held its own as a tourism behemoth, Cancun has shown it still has room to grow.

Cancun beach with people in the water and under umbrellas

Playa del Carmen & Tulum

Following Cancun's success, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have shown that Cancun isn't the only big player in Mexico. Indeed, some of the additional passengers to Cancun International Airport discussed above are undoubtedly hailing a cab straight to Playa del Carmen or Tulum upon landing. Once again, we'll let the numbers do that talking.

Playa del Carmen Beach

Between June and August of this year, Playa del Carmen and Tulum received 822 thousand visitors. Compared to the 625 thousand visitors seen in 2019, the areas look set to cap off the year with a few more broken records. The area encompassing both Playa del Carmen and Tulum is the Riviera Maya. Since September of 2019, the Riviera Maya has added 6,821 hotel rooms for an increase of about 14.2%. Coincidentally, this is almost the same percentage increase as discussed in air passenger arrivals.

Not wanting to share all the air traffic with Cancun International, Tulum will soon be getting its very own international airport. Once completed, the airport will further solidify Tulum as its own distinct tourist hotspot.

arches along the beach in Playa Del Carmen

The entire state of Quintana Roo contains all three major destinations and is home to over 1,300 hotels. Unsurprisingly, the Riviera Maya claims nearly half of them, with a 44% share of all Quintana Roo hotels. Assuming they were split evenly between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, that would mean each destination holds about 22% of the entire state's hotel capacity. While they unlikely split the share exactly, the significance still stands. These gorgeous beach destinations are drawing millions of eager visitors to their shores year after year.

Young Female Tourist Gazing At The Tulum Ruins And Beach Below, Riviera Maya, Caribbean Coast Of Mexico

Visiting Soon?

Travelers interested in visiting Cancun, Playa del Carmen, or Tulum this year should plan quickly. Average occupancy rates throughout the Riviera Maya (Playa del Carmen and Tulum) are expected to be 65%, 70%, and 80% in September, October, and November, respectively.


For those heading to Cancun, know that it is considered the most popular destination for Americans this fall. Hence, prices are likely to increase with time. Additionally, traffic from Cancun International Airport has been a headache for any of the three destinations. To be sure you make it to the airport on time, here is when you need to leave your hotel to head to Cancun airport right now.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Thursday 15th of September 2022

I seriously can't wait to actually be able to visit all of these wonderful places!